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Bombshell Reviews

While not quite a dud, BOMBSHELL never quite matches the level of its low-budget but visually arresting depiction of the 21st century. The film premiered on the Sci-Fi Channel before it was released to home video. In 2011, a high-tech Los Angeles company, Nanolabs, prepares to peddle a cancer cure in the form of "nano-engines," microscopic molecular machines which modify and rebuild organic tissue cell by cell. Nanolabs' whiz-kid scientist Buck Hogan (Henry Thomas) starts to have serious doubts when lab animals start to die. Profit-hungry CEO Donald (Brion James) disregards him and plans human tests and news conferences. That night a grotesque masked figure traps and anesthetizes Hogan. When he awakens, he learns one of his kidneys has been expertly replaced with a biodegradable sac that, according to subsequent communiques, holds corrosive acid. The masked man promises Hogan an antidote if he cooperates in picking up and delivering three packages. When the bureaucratic LAPD refuses to help, and Hogan's own fiancee Angeline (Madchen Amick) is abducted, the desperate protagonist rips open one parcel and discovers it is empty. Hogan realizes the courier act was a ruse to make him touch boxes coated with the nano-engines, which have penetrated his skin and are reacting with the sac. Hogan traces the culprit, fellow employee and career nemesis Malcolm Garvey (Frank Whaley), who forces Hogan and Angeline into Nanolabs at gunpoint during Donald's big press tour. Declaring that the cancer cure is actually a carcinogen, Garvey also reveals that the nano-engines inside Hogan have converted his implant into a powerful bomb. In the ensuing panic, Garvey is shot dead, and only Angeline and Hogan remain in the building. Fortunately, the lady happens to be a surgeon, and performs a successful bomb-ectomy on the spot. The lovers flee as the lab explodes, but Garvey's warning is completely lost on the insipid electronic media. "Science advances, funeral by funeral," is BOMBSHELL's earnest moral (repeated in the end credits, if nobody got the point). All well and good, but even in outline the script's third-act problems should be clear; Garvey's antics seem like a lot of trouble to go through for a basic act of sabotage and revenge/suicide. In fact, the game is mostly up at the 70-minute mark, and director Paul Wynne pads the remaining running time with a protracted car chase and rather fruitless attacks on shallow TV journalism (Pamela Gidley slithers in and out of the narrative as a pushy punkette reporter with pink hair). That the nano-engines actually assemble an explosive device inside Hogan's gut is a neat payoff; too bad Wynne couldn't think of a better way to get there (or escape from it). The characters may be stick figures, but BOMBSHELL is worth watching if only for Angel Colmenares' snazzy cinematography, which paints the future-shock sets with electric colors and sometimes slips into time-lapse imagery. Despite an evident shortage of funds, there's wry wit in background details like an art-gallery exhibit entitled "Tail Lights of the '80s: A Retrospective" and rampant political correctness that infests the West Coast. Racism is a felony, and even silk is woven by "free-range worms." How cats can still be used in medical experiments, then, is anyone's guess. That's why they call it science fiction. (Violence, profanity, adult situations, sexual situations.)